BY TERRY MADYAUTA in zvishavane
fc Platinum……………….. (0) 0
Highlanders……………….. (0) 0
IF FC Platinum fail to retain their Castle Premier Soccer League title, they will probably look back at November 16 as the day they ceded more ground to their rivals, CAPS United after dropping points crucially in this nervy title run-in.
The Zvishavane platinum miners were held to nil-all draw by Highlanders in an ill-tempered, but entertaining Castle Lager Premier Soccer League encounter at Mandava Stadium yesterday.
And they will rue two points dropped just like the other title chasing team Chicken Inn, who drew against Hwange.
Both results leave CAPS United pretty poised to extend their lead to four points when they take on Yadah this afternoon.
The Lizwe Sweswe-coached side remained fixated on third spot with 53 points on their tally.
Sweswe was happy with the draw, but said his side was mainly affected by injuries as they missed most of their regular players that included Kelvin Madzongwe, Lameck Nhamo, Perfect Chikwende and Hagayizo Magaya.
“It’s a point gained and whats left for us is to keep fighting until the race ends. We had the bulk of our players injured, but we cannot lament much about that,” Sweswe said.
“Highlanders brought the game to us and we had to fight hard to stop them as the game was going end to end.
“We are hoping to win the next match against Chapungu. I pray that fortune favours us in the remaining fixtures.”
His counterpart Hendrick Pieter De Jongh heaped praises on FC Platinum quality.
“We were playing against a very professional team in terms of their operations and organisation and I am happy we managed to gain a point,” said De Jongh.
FC Platinum dominated the early exchanges with their free-flowing football and in particular, Congolese forward Gyve Nsiala menacing the Highlanders defence.
At one point, the Congolese was pelted by Highlanders fans after he was awarded a freekick by referee Tabani Bamala.
Highlanders hardly troubled FC Platinum goalkeeper Francis Tizayi in the first half, with Prince Dube having a subdued match where he was tightly monitored by Lawrence Mhlanga.
Dube travelled overnight to join Bosso soon after his cameo role for the Warriors in their Afcon qualifier against Botswana on Friday night, and will also be expected to rejoin them as they head to Zambia this afternoon.
While both sides were too cautious in their application upon resumption of the second half, it was Gift Mbweti who almost broke the deadlock when his powerful header hit the upright.
Brian Banda had Highlanders’ first chances of the second stanza on the 50-minute mark with a sizzling strike that was acrobatically parried away by Tizayi.
Never Tigere, on the other hand missed a sitter, when he was picked unmarked in the box by Nsiala, with a low cross, but his effort on goal was tame.
FC Platinum: F Tizayi, R Muduviwa, L Mhlanga, W Stima, T Chikore, D Chafa, R Pavari, R Chinyengetere, N Tigere (A Eonde 66), G Nsiala, G Mbweti.
Highlanders: A Sibanda, M Phiri, A Silla, B Banda, N Masuku, A Mbeba, P Muduhwa, M Ndlovhu, T Makanda, P Dube, D Khumalo( G Makaruse 72).